Removing preconceived notions

Padraic Ward says we can all be an ally. It starts with removing any preconceived notions we may have and focusing on the individual person in front of us.

You lead teams across Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Brazil and Latin America, Canada, Africa and the Middle-East, and also sponsor the OPEN Network for LGBTQ+ employees at Roche. Why are networks for LGBTQ+ employees important in a corporate setting? 

Our ambition is to ensure that all of our employees feel able to contribute to our shared purpose fully. This is only possible if they feel comfortable and safe being themselves and sharing their experiences and perspectives. Networks like OPEN offer employees the opportunity to seek support and share their experiences for the benefit of others. The network is also a great partner to leaders like me who want to make our organisation as inclusive as possible. 

Why is it important for the LGBTQ+ community to have allies? 

Unfortunately, in many societies, there is still some way to go until every person can feel safe and be their whole selves in all situations. I don’t want this to be the case at Roche – we can do better than that. Allies are important because they help to create an environment in which we can all thrive. 

We can all be an ally. It starts with removing any preconceived notions we may have and focusing on the individual person in front of us. Be aware of how you treat others and seek to act always with respect, compassion and openness. We need every voice to be heard. 

Some argue that this is a private matter that need not come up at the workplace. What would you tell such colleagues?

I would say that nobody can, or should, be expected to be one person at home and another at work: everything goes with us everywhere. 

I want our organisation to be a place where we can all truly be ourselves, where we can share our boldest ideas knowing they will be treated carefully and seriously, and where we can work together openly to make a difference in our communities and for patients.

How has this movement developed in the past few years in Roche Group?  

There is tremendous support for the OPEN network at Roche. From what started 10 years ago at the headquarters in Switzerland, the OPEN network has grown to 38 chapters in 18 countries. The team coordinating the network has done an excellent job reaching out to and supporting members and allies alike. 

A recent noteworthy achievement was the OPEN Summit in January 2021that brought together all of our global networks across Roche. It was a great opportunity to learn about the challenges the community is facing in different geographies, but perhaps more importantly to hear how the groups have catalysed much progress and understanding. 

During the pandemic we adapted to a mostly virtual workspace, and it became even more clear how important trust and collaboration is amongst our teams. We foster an inclusive workplace at Roche, where people around the world feel comfortable to bring their true and authentic selves to work. Because it is the right thing to do, and diverse teams are stronger and more innovative. As one diverse Roche, we improve patients' lives wherever we operate to the best of our abilities.  

*this blog was updated May 2021

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